Red Eye Chicago
Hollywood breeds weight issues
According to experts, true anorexia nervosa affects only 0.5 percent of the female population, but the spectrum of eating disorders is believed to afflict 3 percent to 5 percent. University of California, Los Angeles professor Michael Strober, an expert in the field who has dealt with a raft of Hollywood figures, says that for anyone with a predisposition to eating disorders, coming to Hollywood is like a drunk trying to live inside a bar—extremely challenging.
Characteristics of anorexics include fear of change, difficulty with self expression, a need for order and routine, and a strong need to accommodate.
“That temperament is a challenge for people who exist in the industry,” Strober said.
Bulimics too exhibit the extreme insecurity and selfdoubt that make Hollywood a rough environment, Strober said, but there’s “more compulsivity, more obsessional concern with detail. They feel very, very needy, and they crave attention and are very appetitively oriented. They need cigarettes. They need alcohol.”
To put it mildly, no one in Hollywood is looking out for these women.
“It’s just, ‘Can you get to the next audition?’ ” Strober said. “If somebody has this illness, once they start to lose weight, they’re on this slope that’s very slip-
a pery. It’s like an alcoholic who continues to have drink here or there.”